Sunday, September 18, 2011

Wilford Woodruff's personal appendix to the Book of Commandments

Wilford Woodruff hand-copied the Word
of Wisdom into his Book of Commandments

Rather than reproducing the text, the editors of the Joseph Smith Papers project included photographs of each page of an original the Book of Commandments (BOC) in their Published Revelations volume.(1) This was done in part to allow the modern reader to experience the revelations as they were by the original reader -- with the same size, font, color and type.  Wilford Woodruff's personal copy of the BOC was used as the source of this photographic reproduction.

The final "gathering" or the last 32 pages of the BOC were never printed. Because the printing press was destroyed by a mob, the BOC ends abruptly in the middle of a verse. Thanks to efforts by the Joseph Smith Papers scholars, we now are quite confident of the content that would have been included in the completed BOC. (2)

Wilford Woodruff's (3) copy of the BOC was probably bound in the fall of 1834, when he first began using his similarly bound first journal. Included in the back of his BOC were 12 blank pages upon which Woodruff added his own handwritten appendix.  It included a partial and full revelation, and several hymns probably copied from the Evening and Morning Star: (4)

Woodruff completed the abruptly
terminated revelation at the end
of Book of Commandments
  • The remainder of the last, incomplete revelation of the BOC [D&C 64:36-43]
  • The Word of Wisdom [D&C 89]

    • "Age after age has roll'd away"
    • "The great and glorious gospel light"
    • "Ere long the vail will rend in twain"
    • "Come ye children of the kingdom"
    • "My soul is full of peace and love"
    • "The happy day has rolled on"
    • "Beyond those earthly scenes in sight"
    • "There is a land the Lord will bless"
    Woodruff was probably not aware of the remaining content that was to be included the BOC or he likely would have included it in his appendix.

    Because Woodruff's handwritten appendix was not part of the published BOC it was not included by the Joseph Smith Papers editors. Included here are two photographs from Woodruff's appendix which include the remaining portion of the last revelation, and the first page of his copy of the Word of Wisdom.

    Also included below is the text from his first recorded hymn, apparently originally sung with the gift of tongues and translated into English. (5)

    Sang by the gift of Tongues and Translated
    age after age has rolled away, according to the sad fate
    of man. Countless millions [for] ever gone at length the
    period of time has come that oft was seen by a prophetic
    eye and writen too by all holy men [Inspired] of the Lord
    a time which was seen by Enoch of Old at a time when
    he stood upon the mount which was called the mountain
    of God as he gazed upon nature and the corruption [of]
    man and mourned their sad fate and wept
    and cried with a Loud voice and heaved forth
    his sighs Omnipotence Omnipotence o may I
    see thee- and with his finger he touched
    his eyes and he saw heaven he gazed on
    eternity and sang an Angelic song and
    mingled his [voice] with the heavenly throng
    Hozana Hozana the sound of the trump around the throne
    of God and echoed & echoed again and rang and
    reechoed until eternity was filled with his
    voice he saw yea he saw and he glorified
    God the salvation of his people his city
    caught up through the gospel of Christ
    he saw the beginning the ending of man
    he saw the time when Adam his father
    was made and he saw that he was in
    eternity before a grain of dust in the
    ballance was weighed he saw that he em
    -enated and came down from God he saw
    what had passed and then was and is present
    and to come therefore he saw the Last days the Angel
    that came down to John and the Angel that [is]
    now flying having the everlasting gospel to com
    mit [unto] men- which in my soul I have recivd
    and from death and bondage from the Devil
    I'm freed [and] am free in the gospel of Christ
    and Im waiting and with patience Ill wait
    on the Lord hozana loud sound the trump cause
    eternity to wring hozana for ever Im waiting the coming
    of Christ a mansion on high a celestial abode a seat
    on the right hand of God Angels are coming the holy
    Ghost is falling upon the saints and will continue to fall
    the saviour is coming yea the Bride groom prepare
    ye prepare yea the cry has gone forth go wait on
    the Lord the Angels in glory will soon be descending
    go join you in singing the praises of God the trump
    Loud shall sound the dark vail soon shall rend
    heaven shall shake the earth shall tremble and
    all nature shall feel the power of God, gaze ye
    saints gaze ye upon him, gaze upon Jesus
    hozana loud sound the trump his church is
    caught up hozana praise him ye saints they
    stand at his feet behold they are weeping they
    strike hands with Enoch of Old they inherit a
    city as it is writen the City of God, Loud sound
    the trump, they receive a celestial crown hozana
    hozana the heaven of heavens and the heavens
    are filled with [the] praises of God Amen
    Given February 27- 1833
    (1) The full name of volume is The Joseph Smith Papers: Revelations and Translations, Volume 2, Published Revelations, which includes additional photographically reproduced texts.
    (2) See Published Revelations, Appendix 1: "Proposed Sixth Gathering of the Book of Commandments," or my overview, "Sixth gathering of the Book of Commandments". The gathering was to include D&C 65-73, 75, part of 107,133 and "The Testimony of Witnesses."
    (3) He signed his name"Willford Woodruff" in his copy of the BOC.
    (4) Published Revelations, 3-4.  Some of these hymns can be found at
    (5) See The Joseph Smith Papers: Revelations and Translations: Manuscript  Revelation Books, edited by Robin Scott Jensen, Robert J. Woodford, Steven C. Harper, Church Historian's Press (2009) pp. 509-511. Some background information can be found at, David Golding, Juvenile Instructor.

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